Southern Oregon Trail Skills College

Clearing logs and having fun at the 2019 Southern Oregon Trail Skills College. Photo by Mick Mc Bride.

2022 Southern Oregon Trail Skills College

The Southern Oregon Trail Skills College is a free weekend event for volunteers to learn about trail maintenance and stewardship. Beginners and experts alike can benefit from Trail Skills College courses like Intro to Trail Maintenance, Basic Saw Crew Training and more.

Trail Skills College is offered free of charge in an effort to inspire stewardship of trails. In exchange for attending the training, we encourage you to volunteer at least 16 hours of work on trail projects in the coming year.

The 2022 Southern Oregon Trail Skills College is possible thanks to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Registration is now closed. Check back soon for details about 2024! 

When is it?

July 22-24th, 2022

Where is it?

Camping and registration will take place at the Hyatt Lake Campground, near Ashland, OR.


From Interstate 5:

Take exit 14 towards Ashland-Klamath Falls. Turn on Hwy 66 (Ashland Street); head east away from Ashland, toward Klamath Falls. Continue 17 miles until you reach the Green Springs Inn. Turn left on East Hyatt Lake Road. Continue 3 miles and turn right at the fork. Within 0.1 mile turn left into Hyatt Lake Campground and make your first right towards the C loop. Trail Skills College directional signs will be posted. Registration is at the Mountain View Group Shelter.

From Highway 97:

Take the Hwy 66/State Route 140 exit toward Lakeview and Medford. Head west on Hwy 66 (Greensprings Drive) for approximately 41 miles until you reach the Green Springs Inn. Turn right onto East Hyatt Lake Road. Continue 3 miles and turn right at the fork. Within 0.1 mile turn left into the Hyatt Lake Campground and make your first right towards the C loop. Trail Skills College directional signs will be posted. Registration is at the Mountain View Group Shelter.

When should I arrive?

Participants will meet at the Hyatt Lake Recreation Area – C Loop – Mountain View Group Shelter

Students enrolled in Friday’s Basic Saw Crew Training: Arrive between 7:00-7:30 AM on Friday, July 22nd. Class starts at 8:00am.

Students enrolled in Saturday and Sunday classes:

Arrival Option #1: Arrive Friday, June 7 between 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM to register and set up camp.

Arrival Option #2: Arrive Saturday June 8 between 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM to register and set up camp. Classes start promptly at 8:00am.

How much does it cost?

Trail Skills College is free of charge.

Are meals and lodging provided?

Tent, car, and RV camping is available (without hookups) to all attendees at no cost on Friday and Saturday nights. Trail Skills College participants will camp in the C loop at Hyatt Lake Campground. Bathrooms and showers are available. Please expect to share your campsite with other Trail Skills College participants.

No meals will be offered at the 2022 event– please plan on bringing your own food and cooking supplies/equipment.

What’s the fitness level of Trail Skills College?

The fitness level of the field sessions will vary depending on the classes you select during registration. However, all participants should be prepared to hike a minimum of 1-2 miles while carrying personal gear and tools. Participants should also be prepared for the hands-on learning opportunities in many of these classes, resulting in 6 hours of active trail maintenance per day.

What classes are being offered?

In 2022, we plan to offer the following trail skills courses:

Are you interested in helping certified sawyers to clear trails, but don’t have much experience working with or around saws? Regardless of if you aim to become a certified sawyer yourself, learning to be a safety-conscience saw crew member is an important place to start. This class provides field experience with crosscut saws and axes, but most of the principles are also applicable to chainsaws. Therefore, this class is the place to start, no matter what trail clearing tools you expect to use in the future.

The session begins with an introduction to crosscut saws and axes of various types, and how they work. It then covers their safe and effective use, including a review of trail clearing specifications, safety equipment, the forces of tension and bind, and the practice of situational awareness.

This class is an introduction; it does NOT provide saw certification, which is required for those who wish to be lead sawyers.

This session covers the fundamentals of Crosscut Saw use. It focuses on hazard assessment, safety procedures, saw selection and tooth patterns, the importance of axes and wedges, and the best practices for clearing trail effectively in challenging and potentially hazardous situations. This course consists of one classroom day and one field day clearing trail. The instructor will determine the certification level. Long-sleeve shirt, pants, leather boots, eye protection, gloves and hard hats are required. Gloves and hard hats will be available for those who don’t have them. Bring a saw if you have one.  A current CPR and First Aid card are required to take Saw certification classes.

This introductory sampler class is for people new to trail work who want an overview. One quarter of the class covers “how trails work,” i.e. basic trail design concepts; one quarter covers trail work safety protocols; one quarter covers hands-on brushing and hand-saw clearing; and one quarter covers hands-on drainage cleaning. This sampler class does not prepare students to work independently. Instead, students will understand a range of trail work tasks and have a good idea of what they want to do under a crew leader, or what class they want to take next.

This course goes beyond a triage approach covered in Course 203 Water bars and checks because reconstruction indicates a more thorough restoration of damaged tread to ideal specifications. Review hillside hydrology and how trails should work. Practice systematic slough & berm removal, re-cutting sidehill tread. Learn to reconstruct tread after gullying, tread creep, nasty roots, and uprooted trees. Pre-requisites: 201 and 203, or equivalent experience.

What should I bring?

  • Layers work best as outdoor temperatures, weather, and your activity level will vary through the day. Follow
    the layering system for your work and camp clothes. Long pants are required to conduct trail work. Long
    sleeve shirts are recommended for sun and insect protection and in some areas are required for trail work.

    • Layer 1: Long underwear tops, bottoms, and socks; made of lightweight wool or synthetic material.
    • Layer 2: Mid-weight wool or synthetic pants and shirt. Can be more than one layer; bring additional
      layers if you get cold easily. Cotton is not advised.
    • Layer 3: Rain coat or other water/wind resistant coat or poncho and rain pants.
  • Sturdy boots with slip-resistant tread that offer firm and flexible support. No sandals or sneakers
    while working on the trail but you may want these in camp. Saw students have specific footwear
    requirements. See the Crosscut & Chainsaw Training page.
  • Warm hat and warm gloves while at camp.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Pillow

  • Since meals are not provided at this year’s event, please bring food for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for each day you will be attending.

  • Sealable plastic container to pack lunch in
  • Plate / bowl for breakfast and dinner
  • Silverware
  • Cup / insulated drinking mug
  • Water bottles / hydration pack

  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, lip balm
  • Insect repellant
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Daypack
  • Alarm clock

  • Camp chair (compact)
  • Supplemental snacks
  • Camera
  • Bandana
  • Safety gear (i.e. hard hats, gloves) will be provided throughout the weekend. However, if you have safety gear that you would prefer to use, please bring it with you.

What should I leave at home?

Please do not bring pets to Trail Skills College.

As with any camp, please do not leave valuables in your tent during the day. Plan on either storing your valuables on you, in your vehicle, or leave them at home

How do I register?

Registration is now closed.

Can’t wait?

Don’t forget, you can learn new trail maintenance skills by volunteering on a PCTA trail crew any time. Most crews don’t require any previous trail maintenance experience. Knowledgeable and experienced crew leaders are on site to teach you the necessary skills.  Visit PCTA’s online schedule to find trail projects near you.

If you have questions about Trail Skills College, contact PCTA’s Volunteer Program at [email protected].


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